Tying Spawn Sacks (with directions) by Scott Amerman and Phil Pirone
Both Scott Amerman and I have great respect for each other’s talents. We find we have common goals and, at times, common enemies. Our recent alliance was formed by the current controversy regarding the use of sodium sulfite in egg cures and the possible mortality of smolts and pre smolts caused by ingesting sulfite cured eggs.
As we were discussing the situation, Scott mentioned that he tied a lot of spawn sacks for his Chinook fishing, and if more anglers did it, it would completely eliminate the possibility of smolts ingesting sulfite cured eggs.
In the past I have tied quite a few spawn sacks for steelhead, but not many for salmon. But the more I spoke with Scott, and the more I recalled how I fished eggs for salmon, the more sense it made to explore tying salmon sized spawn sacks.
Besides eliminating any chance smolts can ingest loose eggs falling off a cluster, or being pecked off a cluster, tying spawn sacks offers many other advantages. First, all your baits are tied up ahead of time, so if you do have to change a bait, it takes seconds instead of minutes.
Think about it!
How much fishing time do you waste opening up your cooler to get your egg container, taking off the lid, finding your scissors and cutting off the right size chunk of skein eggs.
Now if you’re making the proverbial banana split for salmon, you then add a half or whole sand shrimp and possibly a slice of sardine, or a pinch of oil packed tuna, or a freshly peeled crawfish tail, or a tuna belly.
The bottom line is the more ingredients you are adding to your egg loop, the more time consuming it is.
Factor in freezing rain, roaring winds, and numb fingers, and you can easily imagine how only the most experienced of anglers are going to cinch this whole mess up with their egg loop into a perfect bait. These same baits can be pre-tied in the comfort of your home or garage the night before and kept refrigerated.
It will take no more than tying 4 or 5 practice spawn sacks before you have it down pat. So let’s quickly review the advantages here in fishing spawn sacks.
First, and most importantly, smolts have virtually no chance of eating sulfite cured eggs.
Secondly, by pre-tying your baits, you’ll spend more time fishing and less time baiting hooks.
Third, you’ll be amazed how much longer your baits will fish in a spawn sack versus a cluster in an egg loop, and you won’t have to worry about having your egg loop fall apart after one or two drifts. Also if you fish tidewater, you eliminate the ‘pogies’ and trash fish that often peck your hook bare in only one or two drifts.
Tying Spawn Sacks
Note: Although larger, "salmon-sized" spawn sack tactics are shown below, you can tie these much smaller for steelhead and trout with the same techniques.
Basic spawn sack tying supplies
Scott Amerman displaying a largesheet of spawn sack material easily purchased at most fabric stores.
Cut clusters from Skeins for sacks. Vary size according to river conditions.
With spawn sacks there is no wasted eggs as loose eggs and left over chunks can be tied into sacks.
To tie a sack Scott stretches his spawn sack material over an empty plastic container and then...
He places his cluster in center of material over the container.
Then he adds a few Floatie Beads for color and floatation.
Now add a squirt of your favorite scent.
Pull material up into a tight ball and either tie it off with Magic thread, or stretchy thread.
Once in a tight ball Scott ties off a sack with Magic (stretchy) thread.
Then Scott snips off the extra netting material and you are ready to fish. Scott prepares several dozen baits prior to a day’s fishing.
To rig a spawn sack simply run your hook through the bag and then capture the whole works in your egg loop.
A deadly combination of a scent loaded spawn sack and a large Spin n Glow. This is one of Scott’s favorite rigs for both spring and fall salmon.
Note on Salmon Spawn Sacks:
Many of us like to fish really ‘wet’ eggs in tidewater.
The wetter and juicier the better. Take those same wet beauties and fish them in current in an egg loop, and you are usually reeling in a bare hook after a drift or two.
Therefore many of us cure wet eggs for tide water and a dryer, tougher egg for fishing heavier currents. By tying spawn sacks you can fish the wetter eggs in any conditions.
For salmon: average spawn sack size ranges from quarter size to golf ball size or larger. The only size limitation is the size of the material you tie your sacks from.
When your spawn sack is spent, just rip it off the hook and replace it in seconds with your pre-tied bait. Just remember to treat a spent spawn sack as trash, and pack it out with you if you bank fish, or put it in your boat’s trash container. Again, we want to eliminate any chance smolts can ever eat our cured eggs.
There is no doubt that Scott’s original suggestion to tie spawn sacks is a win – win idea, and with magic thread it’s now so easy to do.
- written by Phil Pirone of Pro Cure Bait Scents